A Monk’s Perspective
From the Venerable
Happiness is not a place, a destination to discover or achieve.Happiness is a process, a path of life one may travel through with intention, choice, and consciousness.
We human beings are very funny. When something bad happens in our lives we say, "Why me?” “Why is this happening to me?"But, when we wake up every morning and we are alive and healthy, our family is well, we seldom say, "Why me?” “Why am I so fortunate?
My anxious mind picks out something happening in my life -- it does not make a difference what it is.Then, I spin it around in my mind, thinking, "Oh, what if this happens?” or “What if that happens?”
“Why did this person do this to me?” “How come this happened to me?" and on and on.I began to realize it isn't the thing I am worrying about which is the actual difficulty.
It is my own mind, it is looking for something to worry about. It doesn't really matter what the problem is.If, I'm habituated with anxiety, I'll find a problem to worry about. If, I can't find one, then, I'll invent one or cause one.
Filling ourselves with "shoulds" often just makes us feel guilty or sad because, we never are what we think we “should” be. Others never measure up to what they “should” do.In other words, the real issue is not what is happening outside, but what is happening inside of us.
... start by thinking, "Everyone wants to be happy -- just like me,” “nobody wants to suffer -- just like me."
If we focus on that thought alone, no space is left for anxiety in our mindsWhen we look at each living being with recognition that they too seek happiness, our mind will automatically become more open and caring.
“Mindfulness” means being aware of what we are thinking, feeling, saying, and doing each moment.It also means being mindful of our ethical values and of having a kind heart so, we can live according those values in our daily lives
If, we discover we are annoyed and anger is arising -- Stop and look at the situation from the other person's point of view.When we do this, we realize they too want to be happy. It is because they aren't happy that they are acting in the way which we find objectionable.
Look in your own life. When your heart is filled with genuine kindness toward others -- have you simultaneously been depressed and anxious?It is impossible!
“Today, as much as possible -- I won't harm anybody.” “Today, as much as possible -- I am going to try be of service and benefit to others.”“Today, I want to focus my actions so -- all living beings can attain the long-term happiness of enlightenment.”
When we come home and sit quietly. We reflect and come to terms with the day’s events.We look back and think, "What went well today?” “Did I act with a kind heart?" We remember when we acted kindly and rejoice.
At the end of each day, we dedicate our positive potential, to the enlightenment of ourselves and others.Find the good that you already possess -- then enjoy it. Even now, better things are on the way.
Through the harmony of contentment you will be prepared to receive them.